Lea Glob’s ‘Meeting My Father Kasper Tophat’ was the first shown in this eclectic mix of shorts and documentaries from the Nordic countries. Beautifully shot through the eyes of his daughter, it recounted the story of Kasper Tophat, a magician who ended up hanging himself in prison. His daughter hardly knew him, and attempts an intimate reconstruction of his past after his death. By collecting items associated with her Dad, the narrator pays him a painful yet honest tribute in a desperate effort to get to know him after he’s already gone. While this sounds very emotional, it wasn’t, really. The almost stop-motion-like manner in which it was shot left little room for this, but perhaps some more emotion would have turned this nice documentary into an even better one.
The Swedish documentary ‘We Wanted To Blow Up The Vasa’ by Simon Moser was up next. It tells the story of a man who tries to uncover that the Vasa, a legendary Swedish ship salvaged in 1961 by Anders Franzén, was not actually found and salvaged by him, but by the filmmaker’s ancestors. We follow Simon’s disappointments and surprises as he learns about his past and himself along the way, all the while trying to reveal the truth about the ship. Although it’s a nice enough story, there was nothing really special in this: the filming was relatively unimaginative and mediocre, and there wasn’t much suspense in the interviews either. All in all, we weren’t swept off our feet.
‘GLIBBA,’ an Icelandic short without an apparent plot, was a welcome change to the documentaries. This was an expressionist dance-film, which dealt with the Nordic fates, female beings comparable to the old Greek fates. It presented the three most important ones, Urðr, Verðandi and Skuld in a contemporary and experimental manner. The filming combined with a poignant soundtrack made it one of the most powerful and abstract works in this series of shorts and docs.
Next up was ‘Outsiders,’ another Icelandic short by Valgeir Gunnlaugsson. From waking up in the park in the morning to a drunken night in the harbour, this film followed two homeless friends in Reykjavík for a day. Although an effort was obviously made to accurately portray everyday life of a homeless person, parts of it seemed overly stylised – and the end was in contrast real and saddening.
The Danish production ‘Hotel Stalker’ was the last and probably most disturbing short to be shown. As the name suggests, the short thriller gave insight into the protagonist Markus’ obsession with stalking women. As a member of staff working in his father’s hotel, he has a universal key for the entire hotel, and enters the rooms of attractive women when they’re asleep. Fascinated by the adrenaline rush he gets every time he ventures into one of the rooms with his best friend Giminy, he tempts fate relentlessly, leaving roses on beds and whispering loving words into their ears… It’s as creepy as it sounds, in the best possible way. Well produced and with convincing acting, this was one of our favourites!